Litsy is a new app created by the same people who run the Out of Print bookish clothing company. Which I can say makes great looking products, and I’ve definitely shared some of their stuff on my Facebook page. But their app is most commonly referred to as the marriage of Instagram and Goodreads. As my day job is now all about social media, I figured I would see what it’s all about and give you all a run down.
Like any other profile, there isn’t too much different. It much more resembles an Instagram profile than a Goodreads one. You can show featured posts (which are posts featured by Litsy), and if you so choose they can appear in your feed. The BIG difference between Instagram here is that your tagline (aka description) can hold MULTIPLE links. I put both my shop link and blog link on there with no issues. They open in safari if you click on them.
Your feed will have three little icons. The first menu-looking one is all your posts. The second open book one is everything in your “To Read” stack. And the last is books in your “read” stack. This is the GoodReads connection.
Like Instagram, you can search for People or Tags. But what’s fun about Litsy is that you can also search by book. So, being the times as they are, I did a search for “Crooked Kingdom”. Annoyingly, it came up with multiple suggestions, and the only one that looked right had no cover. But meh, I clicked on it.
It gives you a synopsis and shows you all the posts people have made about it. I liked this. But honestly, it’s not much different from just searching the hashtag #crookedkingdom on Instagram.
There are 3 types of posts you can make. A Review (green), a blurb (red), and a quote (blue). Blurbs are you fangirling over your book in bookstagram style. When you choose a post type, you type in your text, can tag people, and set it as “contains spoiler” if it does contain a spoiler.
Then people can like the posts, comment, share it, or add it to their stack.
If you choose to do a book review the rating system isn’t based on stars. It’s rated on a four-point scale of “pick”, “so-so”, “pan”, and “bail”. And they have helpful little icons so you know what the rating means. These show up at the bottom of the review post. I like this because it feels truer to feelings than the star rating. Sometimes people will rate a book three stars, but in their review tell you not to read it.
Unlike Instagram filters or editing, when you add a picture to Litsy you have a variety of other options including cropping, drawing, text and more on top of the filters available. The most fun one (I think) is that you can make those images where you color in the book you want to show and leave the rest black and white. Something that people were previously doing in a separate editor before moving to Instagram.
The GoodReads Factor
Litsy saw the issue with bookstagram, and that was that you would see a book you thought was interesting, and then have to go and look it up on GoodReads separately. But with this app, you just click on the title in the picture and you can read a synopsis, see posts aka what other people think, and add it to a “to read” list. Something that Instagram lacks.
The Photo Editor
That photo editor is life. I think this photo editor would help a lot of bookstagrammers skip the annoying step of using a separate app to make all those edits.
You can post a photo, quote, review and create stacks of books you want to read next all in one app. You aren’t shifting between Instagram and GoodReads, you can do it all in one place. And it creates a more colourful feed that way. I often wonder if the reason people don’t really comment on GoodReads status updates is that they all look the same because they just use the book cover.
This is a HUGE one for book bloggers. I posted a blurb for The Widow, and then in the comments, I linked to my review of it on the blog. I didn’t write a separate GoodReads review, I just linked to my original one. On Instagram, you would have to change your profile link every single time for this. And in GoodReads, if your review was just a link to your blog post you would get skewered. This alone would make me drop both Instagram and Goodreads for Litsy.
Users and Experience
GoodReads and Instagram are huge platforms. And Litsy is the new guy/gal. There are a lot of awesome features, but if you can’t get people onto the app and using it, it’s for nothing. There are literally billions of Instagram users that can see your photos, and comment, and like. But on Litsy there is nowhere near that amount.
It’s not a replacement
People have enormous followings on GoodReads and Instagram already. They’re not going to drop all that to move to Litsy. So then you get people using GoodReads, Instagram, AND Litsy and you just end up stretching yourself thin. The issue of creating an app that’s a combination of two other apps is that what you’re adding may not be enough to make people leave the other apps.
And with all the social media there already is, who has the time to create a photo for Instagram, and then a completely separate one for Litsy? And if you’re using the same photo, you’re now splitting your content, and you aren’t bringing new stuff to either one.
I think if Litsy was a GoodReads integration that let your status updates be pictures of the book you’re reading with links that would be amazing. It would spice up the GoodReads update feed for sure and encourage a more social experience. Which is now mostly people monologuing their thoughts.
There’s a lot of fantastic features on Litsy, and honestly, I would love to see it replace GoodReads and Bookstagram as the go-to platform for book lovers and book bloggers. But I don’t see that happening. It doesn’t have the visual impact of an Instagram feed or the convenience of a GoodReads profile. But I would love to see GoodReads notice the value in a social feed like that, buy them out, and have Litsy be a GoodReads integration. But all in all, I don’t think I’ll be using Litsy right now because I’m only just getting my Instagram off the ground and don’t have the time to start splitting my content to Litsy.
I know, finally.
What are your thoughts on Litsy if you’ve already used it, or thoughts on why you aren’t using it? Do you think it’s going to catch on as a social media platform in the book community or nah? Will this replace Instagram or GoodReads for you? Or will it be an add-on? And finally, what sorts of things would you like to see on Litsy?
Let me know what you think of Litsy in the comments! Would you use it? Are you already using it? Why or why not?